Darla; vampire, mother, lover, whore.
This was made for whedonland's picspam challenge, I was originally going to do all of my favourite female characters from Joss' back catalog of AWESOME. But I don't have the ability of selection and I went overboard with screencaps of Darla, so I kinda stopped there. But do not worry because my Anya picspam is so nearly complete (a year in the making) and I suspect I will do all my favourite Joss women separately as I go along in my life...
Disclaimer: This has been added post ramble, the fist part is basically me just going on and on, please feel free to skip. Unless you are interested in how much I love Darla, then read away.
Me and my friend Susie are slowly making our way through Angel (I would be faster alone but..hey, friendship is all about compromise or something) and although I am under strict orders not to watch ahead I watched all Darla's episodes because I am cool like that. And I have an insatiable LOVE for her.
When I was 9 years old I watched Welcome to the Hellmouth and I was probably created in those 40 minutes. Buffy became, for the majority of my pre-teen and teen years, the person I wanted to be. What's that go to do with Darla I hear you think? (Yes I can hear you think) Although there were so many amazing, beautiful, touching, empowering scenes in the seven years of Buffy, there is nothing quite like that first scene to set it all up. I am making my boyfriend watch from the beginning, he has never watched before (WHERE WAS HE LIVING?) and he commented on what an epic opening to a show that was. and is.
In my youth (seriously I can see this going on and on, skip now if you want the pretty, I just like to see my own typing.) I was all about the good guys, the righteous path and all that jazz, but now that I am old and wise I find myself intrigued more by baddies. I appreciated them before but only in there proper place, as dust, or whatever they turned into when they died. Not anymore, there are usually two types of bad guys, those that are undeveloped and bad and then those who are bad but important enough characters to be developed.
Darla didn't really get much development until Angel, not that she wasn't awesome in the three episode of season one she was in (the vampires walking to the bronze is another EPIC scene) and it was awesome to see the fanged four together in Fool for Love, but it wasn't until her Angel arc when she developed.
So I insisted me and my friend watched Angel because after my recent re-watch of Buffy (which reignited my lost childhood obsession, yes, all my books came out of there box in the cupboard) I had developed a huge love for Darla and I knew she was in it lots. (I had also developed a love for Amy Acker because of Dollhouse) So we did.
And my love for her grew.
Just last night in fact Susie asked me why I loved her so much and that is a difficult questions. Obvious answer would be that she is so amazingly beautiful and awesomely evil. But it is more than that. (those help)
I love Darla because she is complex, broken, strong and simple. You start with a dying woman, prostitute in the new world, ready to embrace death, not ashamed of the life she had made for herself. (The prostitution itself is an interesting aspect of her characterization, she is almost over-sexualised, not fitting at all into the forms of supposed female virtue, but instead embracing one of woman's greatest sins, this makes her more monstrous. This is also interesting when cast against Drusilla who was a nun, the epitome of feminine virtue but I digress).
Then she is turned into a vampire. You don't see her life in those first 100 years but I imagine she enjoyed being a vampire. As a vampire Darla is evil, the master's favourite she likes getting her way and isn't afraid to do anything to get it. She loves causing pain, she likes games and she sees herself as superior to most (humans of course, and other vampires) She likes the finer things in life, beautiful dresses and a view.
These are all excellent qualities then she gets even more interesting. Her first arc on Angel was SUPERB. As a human Darla exhibited all the qualities she did as a vampire, Darla is who she is, not that dead prostitute whose name she doesn't even know. She doesn't have the same conflict as Angel or even Spike because she doesn't feel the thirst for human blood, there is no internal battle between soul and demon, she was gone and it was nothing and now she is back with all these memories. Eventually they weigh her down and she doesn't want forgiveness, or redemption, she wants to be free. To be a vampire again. When she finally accepts her own mortality and death at the end of The Trial it's a beautiful moment of self realization. This is what she is, she will die how she was supposed to. She has witness what Angel is willing to do and for the first time feel loved (OH TEARS)
Unfortunately Drusilla comes in and turns her once more. The whole granddaughter remaking the grandmother thing. It's interesting how angry newborn vampire!Darla is at Drusilla but she quickly embraces her soulless-ness once more. I think the Darla/Drusilla hug is epic, I love their relationship.
Mayhem/destruction/plotting to take over the world ensue. And we all learn Darla doesn't like to be used. They are so cute :) When she and Angel sleep together her reaction to his pretty forceful come-on is interesting, she thinks he is trying to trick her, obviously she wants/needs Angel more than she would like to let on. I actually find the morning after scene really sad. She is so disappointed and feels used. My poor bb. Then she leaves town (probably meeting up with Dru, equally disappointed with the way her meet up with Spike turned out, what is it with these vamp!dudes and slayers, hey?)
Her next arc on Angel leave me with a bit more of a mixed reaction. I really enjoyed the character development but not so keen on the whole baby thing in general, I mean they are vampires (as I haven't seen season four yet I don't really know what goes down enough to dislike Connor or whatever but I get the feeling I probably will not like the events of season 4) I MEAN THEY ARE VAMPIRES. IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. but I will move on and just accept it.
Seeing Darla share a soul while being a vampire is interesting, it is much more reminiscent of PostGypsie!Angel and Basement!Spike. What with the babbling and mood swings. I think that Julie Benz's acting is what really carries this development. She BREAKS MY HEART.
After her sacrifice she gets redemption! SO yay! You'd think she would after the powers that be put a baby in her without even asking. Rude. Anyway. Then she comes back as a vision. dundunduun. I don't really know what that all means but i'd like to think Darla's soul went to a happy place, it's the least the powers could do. Wherever she is she sure looks pretty and that is where Darla ends.
Her image slaughtered at the hands of her child.
Of course it helps that Julie Benz is pretty and totally adorable.
OK, I am done. Probably doesn't make a lot of sense and I got all narrative in many places but hey-ho.
The gist is Darla is awesome and pretty. Lets take a moment to appreciate that.
On to the picspam...
"My soul is well past saving. Let the devil take me if he'll have me. Either way - I die."
"And this one, down in the goose feathers, and the finest silks and linens and a view, she's always got to have the view. Don't you, my lamb?"
"I ran into Lord Nichols - horrid little man. He was propositioning a streetwalker and dickering over the price - can you imagine?
I told him I'd do him for nothing."
Darla: I think our boys are going to fight!
Drusilla: The King of Cups expects a picnic! But this is not his birthday.
Darla: Good point...
"I won't be made a fool, Angelus. Not by you. Not by anyone."
"Is there anything better than a natural disaster? The panic. The people lost in the streets. It's like picking fruit off the vine."
"He killed me. I remember now - with a soul in his heart."
Darla: Always the protector, never the protected.
Angel: I have so many things to make up for.
Darla: And you have. You take care of so many people. - But who takes care of you?
Angel: You do.
Darla: That's right. I do.
Darla: Everyone betrays you, that's not what eats you in the long winter's night...
Lindsey: Yeah? What does?
Darla: Missed opportunities. - He got a soul and it sickened me.- All that power wasted on a whiny mopey do-gooder. God, I could eat his eyeballs.
"What did you bring back, Lindsey? What am I? Did you bring back that girl, whose name I can't remember? - Or did you bring back something else? - The other thing."
"Angel, I've seen it now - everything you're going through, everything you've gone through. - I felt it. I felt how you care. The way no one's ever cared before - not for me - That's all I need from you."
Dru: For you. All for you. I thought it was what you wanted - to be saved.
Darla: Just think of it as our way of giving you what you want.
Holland: What would I...
Darla: I believe you said something about - a massacre.
Darla: Why is everybody trying to make this about Angel?! I mean, for God's sake, can't a woman wreak a little havoc without there being a man involved?
Dru: You miss him, like a heartbeat.
Darla: I don't miss my heartbeat, Dru. It was a symptom of a disease I've since been cured off.
You know, in a perfect world, Angel would be here right now, helping me burn this city to the ground. This is his job I'm doing. But where is he? Probably flogging himself in a church somewhere.
"Well, you know what they say...
Life's full of surprises."
"You may have the face, but you don't know the hunger! It pounds! You can't make it go away! You can't stop it!"
"Sorry, darling. I'm gonna have to be Switzerland and sit this one out. Now, you did say you were just gonna kill the humans, right?"
Darla: ...Just get out of here.
Darla: No. No, I haven't been nourishing it. I haven't given this baby a thing. I'm dead. It's been nourishing me. These feelings that I'm having, they're not mine. They're coming from it.
Angel: You don't know that.
Darla: Of course I do! We both do. Angel, I don't have a soul. It does. And right now that soul is inside of me, but soon, it won't be and then...
Darla: I won't be able to love it. I won't even be able to remember that I loved it. I want to remember.
Angel: You're gonna be okay.
Darla: No. No, I don't think so. Once he's gone, I won't be okay. I won't be okay at all. - I don't know what I'll be. - Angel... Our baby is gonna die right here in this alley. - You died in an alley, remember?
Angel: I remember.
Darla: I wanna say I'm sorry. I wanna say it and mean it, but - I can't. - Aren't you gonna tell me it's okay?
Darla: No? It's really not, is it? We did so many terrible things together. So much destruction, so much - pain. - We can't make up for any of it. You know that, don't you.
Darla: This child - Angel, it's the one good thing we ever did together.
"As a vampire I killed without mercy or remorse because I didn't have a soul. What's your excuse?"
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